Failing to walk on water

Some of us dare to dream big and desire to accomplish what seems impossible. For some of us it is in our very nature to push beyond the limits of normal. It is because of such people man has been to the moon and back. It is those few brave souls that attempt great challenges that change the course of human history. On the flip side cemeteries hold a large number of those that foolishly tried the impractical. Faith is not synonymous with ignorance or stupidity.

There is a famous story in the Bible about a disciple named Peter that once jumped out of a boat to walk on water to Jesus. Many sermons have been preached as well as devotionals and books written about this event.

Matthew 14:22-33 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.  After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,  and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

I cannot view Peters endeavor as a total failure, after all he walked a short distance before beginning to sink. No other mortal human has been recorded as having achieved that. Even the Apostle Paul with his great faith had to swim to shore after a shipwreck. We can only wonder what might have been if Peter did not doubt.

It requires an unusual kind of person to jump out of a seaworthy boat into a storm. Peter understood his own inability when he wanted to try the impossible. His trust was in Jesus, and the fact that he was already walking on water. In a sense Peter was saying “I want to do the same things you do Lord” and Jesus said come on out. Peter understood the proper order was to ask permission first, and then act on a decision. Sadly many people have tried foolish things with tragic results trying to “walk on water” by seeking blessing from the Lord without first asking for His permission.

I want to be one of those men of faith who truly understand that failure is impossible if my focus is on Christ. More than that I want to be the kind of person that has the courage to dare the question “Lord can I leave this boat and join you in the storm?” It may be that the answer is no, not now. The answer may be come on out. Either way I will never have the chance to do the impossible if I don’t at least ask for the opportunity. Peter failed to walk on water, but he was the only one who got out of the boat.

Rev. Burt Schwab






About burtschwab

I currently live in Iowa, USA. My goals are to simply live life as a journey and embrace each day. I am married to a wife with similar passions and that makes me a blessed man.
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